Saturday, August 18, 2012

Flint Postards: Lobby of the Sheraton Motor Inn

Flint Expatriates has reveled in the glories of the Sheraton Motor Inn on Pierson Road in the past but never captured the splendor of the 1970s-1980s era lobby until now. Note the dizzying effect of the geometric patterned carpet paired with the mind-blowing wall art. With the mirrored ceiling, the lobby could have been transformed into a high-energy disco in the evenings. In fact, there seems to be some pickup action happening in the middle of the day over by the door. (Not sure that couple knew they were being photographed.) And for you Powers grads of a certain age, is that teacher Tom Dutkowski grading papers on a giant briefcase?

For those who want to get depressed on a Saturday morning, go here for some more recent photos.


  1. I don't think I've ever seen that many people in suits together in one place in Flint outside of funerals and court appearances.

  2. I remember that lobby so well. I used to get my haircut at Tom's VIP Room (Tom Smith). Connie Kay on piano in the lounge. Ford & Angel in the main showroom. Long time manager Cass Opyt.

  3. Was there also a Sheraton just north of the river near downtown? My brother worked there ore at this location on Pierson. He remembered the owner having a huge dog that hung out at the motels. Was that Cass Opyt?

  4. That hotel was a scream before it went south in the late 80's-early 90's. Lots of GLITZ!...and, that might be Tom Dutkowski (master of D-24 and preacher of the best seller "The Inner Game of Tennis"...). It could also be Robert Reed (a.k.a Mike Brady) visiting the Flint area while reviewing his itnerary.

  5. Hey, thanks for the Inner Game of Tennis reference. I'd forgotten about that.

  6. I forgot to mention, Professor: The author of "Tennis" was Timothy Gallwey. Does that jog more memories?

  7. I just did a little hunting in my bookshelves and discovered that I still have my copy of the Inner Game that I bought in high school, with passages highlighted. And I'm pretty sure I never even had Mr. Dutkowski for a class. His exuberance for the book must have just filtered through the school and I picked up on it.

  8. In the mid- to late-1970s, I was the second shift desk clerk at the Red Roof Inn on Miller Road. Does anyone remember the "Sleep Cheap" sign? We were selling single rooms for $11.00 a night.

    Anyway, we were always filled by about 4:00 in the afternoon on weekdays. Then, if someone without a reservation came in, we would try to help them find a room. First, we would call the HoJo on Miller, then the Holiday Inn on Bristol, the Sheraton, Walli's Motel on Pierson, and the HoJo on Center Road, in that order. By 9:00 at night, you could not get a room in Flint from one of the chains or near the expressway. If you looked really desperate and wer willing to drive in the city, we would suggest the Farm on Clio Road. After that, you were down to the old motels on Dort Hwy.

    Now, both HoJo's are gone, the Sheraton, Walli's, and the Farm are in ruins. It seems that only the Red Roof is still open, unless the Holiday Inn is still operating.

    1. The Holiday Inn was recently turned into an Econolodge, and most of the building was demolished.

  9. In or close to Flint, Walli's East's motel still operates, along with the Holiday Inn Express between the Farmer's Market and the College and Cultural Center. Maybe there are others that I don't know about. The fleatraps on Dort are eternal, of course.

    There however are quite a few national franchise motels in the near and far suburbs. There are at least seven such motels in Flint Township, at least five in Grand Blanc and G.B. Township, and several each in Davison and Fenton.

    In spite of the loss of several industrial plants, many second- and third-tier auto suppliers, and presumably some associated business-traveler trade since Flint's heyday, my guess is that the County actually has held its own regarding lodging, or maybe even gained ground.


Thanks for commenting. You might enjoy my book about Flint called "Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City," a Michigan Notable Book for 2014 and a finalist for the 33rd Annual Northern California Book Award for Creative NonFiction. Filmmaker Michael Moore described Teardown as "a brilliant chronicle of the Mad Maxization of a once-great American city." More information about Teardown is available at